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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Lady Bracknell speaks her mind about modern dress codes

Although Lady Bracknell's unsound health allows her no option but to take regular rest periods, she sees no reason why her physical infirmities should provide a justification for simultaneous intellectual torpor. She has thus devoted the better part of her afternoon to refamiliarising herself with the contents of one of her most treasured volumes. Entitled, "Brush Up Your Manners", it was penned by a gentleman called Guy Pocock in 1939.

Lady Bracknell feels that her readers would appreciate the opportunity of reading the rules relating to ladies' apparel which Mr Pocock listed, and has therefore enjoined her editor to copy the relevant paragraphs onto the computing device:

"In Town
  1. MORNING. A black coat and skirt, tailored, with a crisp blouse, black gloves, shoes and hand-bag, and small black hat, silk stockings, and everything looking perfectly pressed and brushed.
  2. AFTERNOON. Frock and fur coat and gayer hat, or a two-piece suit of the more amusing kind. But see that your hat, gloves, shoes and hand-bag match.

In the Country

A tweed coat and skirt (we do not call them costumes) with woollen jumper or aertex shirt, and a good plain felt hat - a really good felt which will stand rain; and wear a scarf rather than a fur. Rain-coat and low-heeled shoes - probably brown - and sports stockings to match your tweed if you can."

Although it has been remarked to Lady Bracknell on occasion that some of the views she expresses may appear to be a trifle anachronistic, she does not consider herself to be incapable of moving with the times. She would be the first to admit that the modern young woman's life would not allow for such regular changing of formal outfits. (She suspects also that modern readers would interpret the phrase, "gayer hat", rather differently from their 1930's counterparts, but prefers not to dwell on that at the current time for fear that her argument might be derailed.)

Lady Bracknell does not anticipate that the modern woman should necessarily dress so formally as to possess matching shoes, gloves and hand-bag for every amusing two-piece suit in her wardrobe. Indeed, Lady Bracknell would unbend so far from the rigid rules of her own youth as to accept the wearing of trousers by members of the fairer sex.

However, there is a limit to Lady Bracknell's tolerance. She had hoped that standards could fall no lower than the wearing of that repugnant undergarment which bisects a woman's posterior, the top of which is always visible above the waistband of its wearer's outer garment. (Quite apart from the truly revolting appearance engendered by such skimpy undergarments, Lady Bracknell is persuaded that they cannot be comfortable for the wearer. Pondering on this tends to result in Lady Bracknell calling for her smelling salts.)

Imagine, then, the extent of Lady Bracknell's horror when she discovered the even more deplorable trend for leaving the house in one's night attire! Young gels gather on street corners local to Lady Bracknell's abode clad only in their pyjamas, and shod with fluffy slippers. (These last, she has noticed, become quickly discoloured when exposed to the surfaces of pavements. A phenomenon which should elicit no surprise in their owners given that they have been expressly designed solely for indoor wear.)

Lady Bracknell is reluctantly forced to conclude that sartorial elegance may be a thing of the past. She is deeply saddened that such a thing should have come to pass in her own lifetime.


Blogger Becca said...

This young gel only de-pyjama'ed to get in the bath today. You didn't need to know that. Sorry.

I was wondering if the good Lady was a user of one of the myriad instant messaging programs available today?

11:00 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

I'm afraid when I took the sweet ladies advice for morning wear this morning and slipped into a crisp blouse and silk stockings, I received the unwelcome attentions of some rather rough members of the lower classes. I think they may have been builders labourers ( they certainly were not gentlemen!!) This has upset the Boy Marmites equalibrium somewhat and I have had to have a lie down in a darkened room.

Tomorrow I shall have to return to my normal attire of top hat, frock coat and spats.

8:00 am  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

May I refer Lady Bracknell and all her fashion-conscious readers to for undergarments of the utmost style and comfort.

However, one must be aware that in Whitby, home of jet jewellery and favourite destination of Mr Abraham Stoker, even these items of under-attire get put on display. Many a young gel of the Gothic persuasion can be seen wearing white knee-length pantaloons under a very short skirt.

It seems that the young people of today have great difficulty wearing any item of clothing which is entirely hidden from view.

11:25 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


Lady Bracknell refuses to be held responsible for any misfortunes befalling a gentleman who has failed to read her well-chosen words with the diligence which they deserve.

It was clear from her blog entry that the rules she quoted related to ladies' apparel.

Perhaps the young gentleman is in need of a visit to his local optician?

6:09 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...


Contrary to the strict rules of her upbringing, Lady Bracknell herself is often to be found in her night attire during daylight hours within her own home. She would not, however, vacate the house thus clad.

Lady Bracknell has not herself mastered the intricacies of the computing device. Having made enquiries, she discovers that her editor is not a user of instant messaging programs, but would be intrigued to learn more about them.

6:13 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell is pleased to note that the undergarments so favoured in her youth are enjoying a revival and may be purchased over the interwebnet.

She is only too aware of the effect that the glimpse of even the tiniest portion of a pantaloon can have on a gentlemam whose blood is up (she would prefer not to go into details about her own youthful experiences in so public a forum). She therefore fears for the reputations of the young gels to whom you refer.

6:17 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Sorry about making a mess of my comment there - I must have missed out a tag or sommat.

I did want to ask Lady Bracknell, how is the best way to make one's two-piece amusing? And how does one strike a balance between an amusing two-piece and a laugh-out-loud hillarious two-piece?

7:12 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

The Goldfish would need to check with Mr Pocock. (Although Lady Bracknell - despite maths never having been her strongest suit - suspects that he may be deceased.)

His text provides no clues on this vital issue...

7:42 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

Were Lady Bracknell to avail herself of one of the abundant free instant messaging programs to be found on the interwebnet, this author would be most happy to provide guidance in the operation thereof.

9:02 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

The young lady is most generous. Lady Bracknell will ensure that her editor looks into it. The necessary research will probably have to wait until the weekend, as the editor has onerous office duties during the week.

9:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brush Up Your Reading, This book is in my colection by Guy pocock made in Great BritaĆ­n at The Temple Press letchwort for J. M Dent & Sons Ltd.
Aldine House Bedford St. London 1942..
I am to Venezuela.

Disculpe el no poder expresar bien lo que quiero decirle..
Yo tengo un ejemplar del libro impreso en 1942 BRUSH UP YOUR READING to Mr Guy Pocock, si desea mas informaciĆ³n al respecto mi email is sergioaagg@hotmail.com..

7:34 pm  

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